Monday, 24 July 2017
Business and Economy

Business and Economy (654)

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM: Embattled Nollywood actress Tonto Dikeh on Friday said her marriage to Olakunle Churchill was a sham.

Churchill is alleged to be former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s nephew.

She made the revelation on her Instagram @tontolet while responding to advice from her fans persuading her to have a rethink over her marriage.

The Nollywood actress added she had been using her social media platform to lie and paint Churchill the good man he is today, as her union with him ‘was all a sham’.

According to her, all the cars and jewelleries she flashes on social media were not bought for her by him.

She wrote: “I posted stuffs my ex-husband bought for me doesn’t make it true. I used my platform to lie, to make him the man he is today.

The mother of one alleged that she treated so many sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) while being married to Churchill.

“Nobody knows how many STDs I have treated or pain I know in marriage. If laughter is all they have then the karma that bites me awaits them all.

“Thank for your love. Yes no marriage is perfect but mine was based on gross lies deceit, scam and many more darkness.

“I loved the man no one begged me to, I take all the blame.”

“So don’t come at me with the bullshit of enjoying this man’s money.

“ I have not started talking, I will bare it all but there is time for everything.

“I care now for the STD’s because I am no longer naive. I am a mother who wants to live long for my child.

“I am not a saint and cheating is not the only reason I took the forever walk, “she added.

The controversial actress got married in 2015 to Oladunni Churchill,a Nigerian businessman and philanthropist, and they have a son from the union.

However, the separation crisis started when it was reported that a certain woman had stepped into the picture, with Tonto Dike removing her husband’s surname from her Instagram account.

The duo have been in a war of words on the social media, with Churchill demanding for exclusive access to his son.

Posted On Friday, 24 February 2017 12:55 Written by

SPONSORED BY 234NAIRA.COM: A Prosecution witness in the trial of ex-Chief of Defence Staff Alex Badeh yesterday told the Federal High Court, Abuja his team recovered $1 million from Badeh’s house.

Mr. Goji Mohammed, the 15th witness to testify in Badeh’s trial, said he was part of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) team, led by Mr. Isyaku Sharu, which searched in Badeh’s house in Asokoro, Abuja.

The ex-Chief of Defence Staff is standing trial on money laundering offence allegedly committed while serving as Chief of Air Staff.
The witness, according to a report by News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), said the team recovered some bank documents, land documents, tax documents and few other instruments.

Mohammed said the commission received intelligence report on another property located at No. 6 Ogun River Street Maitama, which was  found to be Badeh’s property.

He said they  accessed the building through the balcony by climbing, adding that they invited the security man of the neigbouring house to witness the search.

“When we climbed in, we were in the living area upstairs. So, we used the stairs and went to the living area downstairs and started our search from there.
“ When we got to the biggest room in the house, we saw a wardrobe, on opening it, we saw a bag and on opening it contained foreign currency.
“We saw 16 bundles of 50 U.S. dollars notes and two sealed bundles containing 100,000 U.S. dollars, which we estimated to amount $1 million.

“On further counting the money in our office, we discovered it was exactly one million dollars,’’ he said.

He said they also found a red box which he could not precisely remember what was inside, adding that they also found two way bills of furniture supplied to the building.

When the prosecution sought to tender the search warrant, the red box and the way bill as evidence, the move was objected to by the defence team.
Mr. Lasun Sanusi (SAN), counsel for the defendant, objected to the admissibility of the items, saying they were purportedly obtained from an illegal search.
Sanusi cited Section 115 of Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015, which states that the occupant of a place searched or a relation shall be at the house and see the items seized. He said no law permitted state security agents to conduct search by looking for strangers on the street to witness it.

Sanusi said the law gave the owner of the property the impetus to nominate a representative to witness such search, if he or she could not be present.
“My lord, the witness had earlier confirmed that when they were to conduct search on the defendant’s house at Asokoro, they took him along to witness the search. Why was this other one different?

“It is on record that the defendant was still in detention when the purported search was done in his house at Maitama, which is a clear violation of the law.
“My Lord, we are not against the court admitting the search warrant as evidence, but we vehemently oppose to the admissibility of the other items,’’ he said.
However, the prosecution counsel, Mr. Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), argued that Section 149 and 150 of ACJA, which deals with house search warrant permitted the presence of two witnesses.

“This permission covers the person to whom the warrant is addressed and a neighbour within the neighbourhood the property is located,’’ he said.
According to him, the provision allows the person to whom warrant is addressed to look for a witness in the neighbourhood.
He, therefore, argued that no provision of the law compelled the property owner to be present before a search warrant can be executed.
Justice Okon Abang, however, adjourned the matter till Feb. 22 for continuation.

Posted On Wednesday, 22 February 2017 00:49 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365RADIO.COM: Five months after the death of frontline businessman Chief Olorogun Michael Ibru, 16 of his children are in a legal tussle over their paternity and his multi-billion naira assets.

One of his sons, Oboden Ibru, has approached the Igbosere High Court, Lagos, for a declaration, among others, that he and his 15 other siblings are entitled to the estate of their father.

In a counter-claim, one of the late Chief Ibru’s daughters, Janet Ibru, urged the court to declare that only persons whose paternity are confirmed by a diagnostics centre in the United States are entitled to an equal share of the estate.

Oboden’s suit was filed February 8 by Chief Bolaji Ayorinde (SAN) but has not been assigned to a Judge.

The defendants are Oskar Ibru, Peter Ibru, Emmanuel Ibru, Gloria Ibru, Elaine Ibru-Mukoro, Elvina Ibru, Mamemo Ibru, Janet Ibru, Obaro Ibru, Vivi Ibru-Stankov, Edesiri Ibru, Christiana Ibru, Jero Ibru, Vikwesiri Ibru, Gabriel Ibru and the Probate Registrar, High Court of Lagos State.

The claimant is seeking an order declaring that a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of January 2, 2001 is valid as to the distribution by way of gift of the late Ibru’s assets to both “Ovuone” and “Ivetu”.

He asked the court to declare that the properties listed in the MOU belong in their entirety to “Ovuone” being gifted jointly and several times to “Ovuone” in the lifetime of the late Chief Ibru.

Such properties include No. 1, Marine Road, Apapa, Lagos; 47, Marine Road, Apapa; 49, Marine Road, Apapa; 52, Marine Road, Apapa; 5,7,9 Emotan Road, Apapa; 3,5,7 Ladipo Oluwole, Apapa; Daska House; Blomfield Court; 33, Michael Ibru Boulevard; 6, Louis Solomon Close, Victoria Island, Lagos and 5/7, Queens Barracks Road, Lagos.

Others are No. 20, Queens Drive, Ikoyi, Lagos; 6, Kensington Park Gardens, London; Starcross Farm; Hillcrest Apartment; Zabadne Plot, Abuja; Maitama Plots, Abuja; Maroko Plots, Lagos; 7, Randle Close, Apapa, Lagos; all shares in Oceanic Bank; Oteri Holdings Limited’s shares in Minet Nigeria Limited; Oteri’s shares in Ibachem and the portion of Ibafon land occupied by Ibachem and Ovwian land.

The claimant is also seeking a declaration that the judgment delivered by Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Lagos on April 17, 2014 remains valid and subsisting, having not been set aside by any court of competent jurisdiction.

Oboden also asked for an order appointing himself, seventh defendant, Christiana, first defendant, Oskar and eighth defendant, Jero, as administrators of the Ibru estate and an order directing them to apply to the 16th defendant for the grant of letters of administration for the estate.

An order of the court appointing Messrs. PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited to conduct a forensic audit of the shareholdings and assets, whether real or personal, belonging to the estate of the late Ibru in Oteri Holdings and any other company in Nigeria or anywhere such may be located, discovered or found in the world and submit such report to the Registrar of the court within 90 days of the order and the cost of such exercise be paid by the administrators so appointed herein. 

The claimant is seeking an order directing the administrators to divide the assets into 16 equal shares and that same be given to all the 16 surviving children of the late Ibru.

But in a counter-claim, eighth defendant Janet urged the court to declare that all matters pertaining to the estate be adjudicated in Nigeria as well as a declaration that she is entitled to a refund of all expenses, including the $48,000 incurred by her in defending the law suits of the second defendant.

Furthermore, she is seeking an order of the court directing the administrators of the estate of the late Ibru to refund to her, the expenses incurred in taking care of the late Ibru during the final year of his life.

 

 
Posted On Monday, 20 February 2017 20:07 Written by

SPONSORED BY YES434.COM: In the last few years, particularly between 2015 and now, there have been increasing talks about the need for Nigerians to return to the farm. From government to private individuals, the campaign for the return to land cultivation has been heightened, especially in the face of the rising cost of food prices, with everyone volunteering views on how a return to agriculture remains the most viable way out of the current economic recession.

But as the recession continues to bite harder, affecting the macro-economy of Nigeria, as well as the economy of individuals, it has become quite expedient to consider the call to return to tilling the land and explore other avenues tied to the agriculture business with a view to leveraging on them to survive the harsh economic conditions. One of such avenues is farm produce sales.

The business of selling farm produce is not a capital-intensive one, though it needs a lot of planning and time investment. With N20,000 upwards, one can successfully begin a farm produce business.

So much has been said by experts and wannabes on how agribusiness can be a money-spinner, but one needs not be an expert or consult a thousand literatures to know the veracity of the claims. All you need do is, visit the nearby market and ask how much food products cost now and how much they cost a few months ago. Taking that step, you would have begun a venture that can change your financial status for good, as that initial research is the first critical step in the business of selling farm produce. You have to do a market survey, know the farm produce that is popular and in high demand in your locale; know the demand for the produce in different periods of the year and know where you can easily get it for relatively lower prices. As part of the survey, you must relate with people who are already in the business of selling farm produce, not necessarily showing yourself as their would-be competitor but as someone who is probably interested in buying what they have in stock. That way, you will be able to know how lucrative the business might be if you eventually venture into it.

After the survey or what you may call initial research, there is the need for you to set your priorities right on which farm produce you want to settle for and if it will be more than one, you must be prepared to handle the complexities.

For instance, depending on what crops you want to trade in, you may need to cultivate a relationship with farmers or a farming location where the produce might be surplus. You also need to make arrangements for the transportation of the produce from the farms/location to where you are and or you may store the produce in the same location until it is in higher demand and sells at a higher cost. In any case, you need a mini-warehouse or storage facility to store the farm produce during a time of plenty, which is the best time to stock the farm produce. For example, the popular peak period for the harvesting of maize, yams, millets and some other food crops are always between July and September of every year in certain areas of the South-West, if your desire is to trade in any of these crops, you must be prepared to travel (or delegate the duty to someone who can) to these areas in order to buy the crops and you must have a storage facility handy.

It is also important to factor in the fact that storing farm produce/food crops needs technical know-how, which is why you must be prepared to hire an expert in the storage of crops, who would know which method is best to store the products in other to prevent them from spoilage, which would culminate in the loss of your investment. If you are going to store maize, millet, sorghum, and other grains, you need to get the people with the know-how on preservation methods.

Some of the popular farm produce that are always in high demand at some period of the years are palm oil, maize, wheat, yam/yam flour, soya bean, and others. With these products and some others, depending on how well you handle them, you can feel safe stocking them in high quantity for a few months till they become scarce and in high demand. And whenever the demand for these produce rises, there is a high probability of getting at least a 50 per cent return on investment, depending on how long you can wait before selling out. For instance, a few months ago, a bag of maize cost between N8,000 and N10,000 in some farming areas in Oke-Ogun area of Oyo State. Today, the same bag costs nothing less than N15,000. Also, every time new yam comes out, several farming communities in the South-West that grow the crop in high quantity would have a high supply of dried yam for yam flour. Ditto for palm oil. Insightful farm produce sellers often stock the two produces until the first quarter of the New Year and afterwards, when the demand and prices for these products often rise sharply.

Do you have the desire for agribusiness but do not want to be involved in full-scale farming? Why not explore the world of farm produce sales?

Posted On Sunday, 19 February 2017 17:12 Written by

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: At least two persons died and several others were injured when a luxurious bus plunged into the Majidun River, Ikorodu on Friday morning.
Officials of the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) and other rescue agencies have been battling to save the victims.
At the time of filing this report, 7am, bodies of two of the passengers in the bus have been recovered, while several others injured.
Evacuation of the victims was still ongoing, according to the General Manager LASEMA, Adesina Tiamiyu.
He said: “The incident happened at Owode Elede after Mile 12. The luxurious bus had a brake failure and lost control. It dived into the river. Several people were injured, two people are dead. Evacuation ongoing.”

Posted On Friday, 17 February 2017 20:00 Written by

EFCC gets go-ahead to seize Yakubu’s $9.772m, 74,000 pounds

SPONSORED BY BUY656.COM: A LIST of suspects who will face trial over the $151million and N8billion found in fictitious bank accounts is in the works, The Nation learnt yesterday.
On the “long” list are bankers and civil servants, Attorney-General of the Federation Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) said.

He declined to name the suspects but stressed that the government is interested in knowing how the funds were sourced and lodged in the accounts.
Malami, who spoke with our correspondent from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said: “But investigation is in top gear and I will not want to jeopardise it by giving out names of those affected.”

Pressed for more comments, Malami said: “I am not certain of the number now but it is huge because it involved a syndicate.
“The culprits include civil servants and bank officials who all connived to stash away these recovered monies.”

He stressed that “no businessman was implicated but the suspects, who are many, are mostly civil servants and bank officials”.
Another government source said the suspects would be named in court when charges are preferred against them.

But there were strong indications yesterday that a commercial bank had written the Federal Government, owning up to the lodgment of $136,676,600.51 in a fictitious account with it.

The bank has promised to remit the slush funds into a dedicated account provided by the government.

The government official, who pleaded not to be named because of “the sensitivity of the matter”, said: “Before the government released the fact-sheet on the recovery of $136,676,600.51, it got a letter of from a commercial bank owning up that the cash was wired into a fictitious account in one of its branches.
“The bank also made a commitment to remit the seized cash to a dedicated account which has been provided by the Federal Government. We are expecting the refund from the bank any moment from now.

“We have the required evidence from the bank with the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation(OAGF).”
The government source spoke on the investigation, saying “it is almost completed”.

He agreed that Nigerians were eager to know the suspects, but insisted that “we will release their names only after charges have been preferred against them in court”.

Also yesterday, a Federal High Court sitting in Kano, presided over by  Justice Zainab B. Abubakar, ordered the forfeiture of the US$9,772,00 and  £74,000 by a former Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC),  Mr. Andrew Yakubu, to the Federal Government.

The order was sequel to an ex-parte application by the EFCC seeking an interim forfeiture of the recovered money to the Federal Government.
A statement by the Head of Media and Publicity of EFCC, Mr. Wilson Uwujaren, said the ex parte application was moved by Salihu Sani, counsel to the applicant.

The statement said: “In her ruling, Justice Zainab held that the sum of $9,772,000 and £74,000  which are now in the custody of the applicant (EFCC) are in the interim forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.”

“On the 3rd day of February, 2017, operatives of the Commission had stormed a building belonging to the former NNPC boss and recovered a staggering sum of $9,772,000 and £74,000 stashed in a huge fire proof safe. On February 8, 2017, Yakubu reported to the Commission’s Kano Zonal Office where he admitted being the owner of both the house and the money recovered. “Yakubu is still in custody assisting the investigation.”

The  Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed,  on Sunday said the “whistle-blower policy has started yielding fruit as it has so far led to the recovery of US$151 million and N8billion in looted funds”.

He said: “The looted funds, which do not include the $9.772 million in cash allegedly owned by a former Group Managing Director of the NNPC (which was also a dividend of the whistle-blower policy), were recovered from just three sources through whistle-blowers who gave actionable information to the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation.

“The biggest amount of $136,676,600.51 was recovered from an account in a commercial bank, where the money was kept under an apparently fake account name, followed by N7billion  and $15million from another person and  N1billion  from yet another.

‘’When we told Nigerians that there was a primitive and mindless looting of the national treasury under the last Administration, some people called us liars.
“Well, the whistle-blower policy is barely two months old and Nigerians have started feeling its impact, seeing how a few people squirreled away public funds.

“It is doubtful if any economy in the world will not feel the impact of such mind-boggling
looting of the treasury as was experienced in Nigeria.

‘’Yet whatever has been recovered so far, including the $9.8million by the EFCC, is just a tip of the iceberg.”

Posted On Wednesday, 15 February 2017 00:39 Written by

SPONSORED BY KODUGA.COM...THE CLASSIFIEDS ADS WEBSITE: The Chairman of the  Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission(ICPC), Mr. Ekpo Nta, yesterday confirmed the recovery of N8, 705, 750, 426.15 from Infrastructure Bank and other five sources in 2016. He said of the funds about N6billion was frozen in the bank alone.
He also said the commission received 1,569 petitions last year, filed 70 cases and secured 11 convictions.

Nta, who made the disclosures at news conference in Abuja, said about 303 criminal cases were still ongoing. He said: “In 2016, we were able to recover N8, 705, 750, 426.15 including about N6billion which was frozen in Infrastructure Bank. Also, out of the total amount, N668 593, 621. 60 was refunded  to Kano State from SURE-P funds; we have about N292, 013, 150.64 in TSA and N1, 694, 397, 275. 51 pension monies paid to Nigeria Electricity Liability Management Company (NELMCO) beneficiaries and others.

“The recoveries include N20, 890,000 for NSITF Multi-purpose Cooperative Society and the balance of recovery is for extorted students of the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta (FUNAAB) and other victims.

“About 124 vehicles were recovered under the SURE-P Programme last year. We have handed over 40 of the vehicles, which we retrieved from some directors,  to the Federal Ministry of Water Resources on January 26. Part of what we are doing is  to escalate the recovery process this year.
“Also, 42 fake corps members in full uniform were all picked up here in Abuja. We have to bring their parents for ‘graduation’ in Abuja before we released them.

“We want to appeal to Ministries Departments and Agencies(MDAs) to be careful because these fake corps members no longer go to NYSC camps again to avoid being caught. They now post themselves to MDAs.

Nta, who gave update on the petitions sent to ICPC in 2016, claimed that North-Central(including the Federal Capital Territory)   topped the chart with 782 .
The breakdown of petitions from other geopolitical zones is as follows: Southwest(295); Southsouth(201); Northwest(118);  Southeast (106); Northeast (62); the United Kingdom(4) and the United States(1).

Asked of what has become of the alleged investigation of some  governors, Nta  said he was shocked to be reading stories with some figures ascribed to ICPC.

“We saw some media reporting that we had completed the investigation of 30 governors in the past. We also wake up to read reports about ourselves quoting sources.

“Section 64 of the Corrupt Practices Act does not allow the publishing of those facts until we are in court. It is in the court you draw such inferences.
“Of recent, a medium reported that we have placed all Permanent Secretaries on watch-list by quoting sources. Yet, the medium said the story was from ICPC.

Nta explained why ICPC had been focusing on preventive measures. He said: “While the full weight of the law must be brought against corrupt persons, it is crucial that in addition, anti-corruption efforts be focused on prevention through systems reform and reduction of opportunity for corruption.

“The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Commission  (ICPC) in fulfillment of its mandate at Section 6(b-d) of the Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Act 2000, vigorously pursues systems reform to deliberately and consciously  shut the door against illicit activities.

“We not only identify corruption-prone processes, practices and procedures in government agencies but work with them to institutionalize corruption-free processes and enforce compliance. There are ongoing collaborations to strengthen the ethical tone of Ministries, Departments and Agencies through Anti-corruption and Transparency  Units (ACTUs).”

Posted On Tuesday, 14 February 2017 01:17 Written by

SPONSORED BY X365RADIO.COM: The Federal Government said it recovered another 151 million dollars and N8 billion looted funds from three sources through whistle-blowers.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed disclosed this in a statement issued on Sunday in Lagos.

Mohammed sad actionable information given by whistle-blowers to the office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation led to the recovery of the looted fund.

He said the looted funds do not include the 9.2 million dollars in cash allegedly owned
by a former Group Managing Director of the NNPC, also a dividend of the whistle-blower policy.

“The biggest amount of 136.7 million dollars was recovered from an account in
a commercial bank, where the money was kept under an apparently fake
account name.

“This was followed by N7 billion and 15 million dollars from another person and N1 billion from yet another,” he said.

The minister reiterated the position of government that there was a primitive and mindless looting of the national treasury under the last administration.

He said the whistle-blower policy has started yielding fruit, few months after its adoption by the government.

“The whistle-blower policy is barely two months old and Nigerians have started feeling its impact, how a few people squirrelled away public funds.

It is doubtful if any economy in the world will not feel the impact of such mind-boggling looting of the treasury as was experienced in Nigeria.

”Yet whatever has been recovered so far, including the 9.2 million dollars by the EFCC, is just a tip of the iceberg,” he said.

The minister appealed to Nigerians with useful information on looted funds to continue to provide the authorities with such information, saying confidentiality will be maintained with regards to the source of the
information.

He also reminded Nigerians of the financial reward aspect of the policy.

”If there is a voluntary return of stolen or concealed public funds or assets on the account of the information provided, the whistle blower may be entitled to anywhere between 2.5 per cent (Minimum) and 5.0 per cent (Maximum) of the total amount recovered,” he said. (NAN)

Posted On Sunday, 12 February 2017 16:36 Written by

SPONSORED BY BUY656.COM: The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is linking a new $37.5m property  to  former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke.

The exquisite  15-storey building which is  located on the highbrow Banana Island in Lagos is the latest on the list of choice  properties said to have been acquired by the ex-minister with alleged stolen public funds.

It is an 18 flat edifice.

A reliable EFCC  source said yesterday that the ownership of the building was discovered this week in the course of  the investigation of the former minister.

The source said: “The property Building 3, Block B, is a 15 storey edifice comprising 18 flats and 6 penthouses, Bella Vista at Plot 1, Zone N, Federal Government Layout, Banana Island Layout, Foreshore Estate, Off Onikoyi Road, Ikoyi, Lagos.

“The property was acquired by the former minister between 2011 and 2012 at a total cost of $37,500,000USD from the developers, YF Construction Development and Real Estate.

“It was acquired in the name of a Shell company, Rusimpex Limited under the control of a  certain Mr. Afamefuna Nwokedi in Lagos.

“The investigation continues.”

The  EFCC source said the agency might  seize the property.

His words: “We will do this after the completion of investigation and obtaining of all title documents.”

Sections 28 and 34 of the EFCC (Establishment Act) 2004 and Section 13(1) of the Federal High Court Act, 2004 empower the anti-graft agency to invoke Interim Assets Forfeiture Clause.

Section 28 of the EFCC Act reads: ‘Where a person is arrested for an offence under this Act, the Commission shall immediately trace and attach all the assets and properties of the person acquired as a result of such economic or financial crime and shall thereafter cause to be obtained an interim attachment order from the Court.’

Section 13 of the Federal High Court Act reads in part : “The Court may grant an injunction or appoint a receiver by an interlocutory order in all cases in which it appears to the Court to be just or convenient so to do.

(2)          Any such order may be made either unconditionally or on such terms and conditions as the Court thinks just.”

Properties which EFCC records show as belonging to Mrs.Alison-Madueke are:

  • A block of 6 unit service apartments at Awolowo Road, Ikoyi

*Six unit terrace flats in Yaba, Lagos

  • Twin four-bedroom duplexes in Lekki Phase I
  • Two duplexes in Banana Island
  • A duplex in Asokoro. District, Abuja
  • A mini-estate in Mabushi, Abuja
  • A set of 12 terrace duplexes at Omaremi Street  in Port Harcourt
  • Large expanse of land at Oniru, Victoria Island in Lagos

* A multi-billion Naira estate in Yenagoa

* Two apartments in Dubai marked as J5 Emirates Hills (30million Dirham) and  E146 Emirates Hills valued at 44million Dirham

* A hotel in Port Harcourt under investigation.

 The former minister in a January 21 2017 lengthy statement in London denied being a thief.

She accused the EFCC of  taking advantage of her silence all this while to put her on media trial and cited the   $153million which she was accused of withdrawing from the accounts of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation( NNPC) while in office.

  She said that as the petroleum minister, the operation and management of NNPC finances were “outside my purview as outlined in both the Petroleum Act and the NNPC Act.”

She added:”The only involvement I had in NNPC finances was in terms of statutory matters, where the Petroleum Act prescribed that as Minister, there were certain duties or actions which I had to perform or take in relation to NNPC.”

On the alleged $700million found in her house and some mansions traced to her, Diezani accused EFCC of witch-hunt,saying: “On the 13th of June 2016, the EFCC once again took their well-trodden path to the media. This time claiming  that they had ‘discovered’ a mansion in Asokoro, Abuja, worth $18million  (approx. N9billion) which they purported to belong to me. The EFCC went to the extent of bringing in Aljazeera, an international TV station, to air a damaging documentary against me in this regard, showing a particular residential building in Asokoro, Abuja, which they told Aljazeera belonged to me

“The EFCC Chairman Ibrahim Magu, personally took the Aljazeera reporter to the building, alleging that it belonged to me. It has since become apparent that the house belongs to a company owned by Mr Kola Aluko.

“If this is not a witch-hunt or a personal vendetta against me, how is it that one of our country’s premier investigative agencies were unable to avail themselves of facts that are freely available in the public domain.

“Since the EFCC claims that the alleged $18million Asokoro property belongs to me, then they should kindly produce the ‘Authentic’ Certificate of Occupancy and Land Registry information and any other relevant information, as proof of my ownership of the property.

“On the 9th November 2016, the EFCC visited our family home in Yenagoa (Bayelsa State) as pre-agreed and they were escorted around the premises. I was therefore completely shocked to once again see my name sensationally splashed across the front pages of newspapers and widely circulated on the internet, with blaring headlines such as “EFCC UNCOVERS DIEZANI’S MULTI-BILLION NAIRA ESTATE” – Nation Newspaper, January 8, 2017 (Annex- 4A). There was absolutely nothing ‘Hidden’ or ‘Concealed’ about the home.

“I had declared it openly as required by Law, in my Asset declaration forms (Annex-4B). Yet the EFCC have announced that they ‘Just Discovered’ my ‘Hidden Estate’! And labelled it a ‘Multi-Billion Naira Estate’! Even though they had been given the Bill of Quantities, showing actual amount spent.

“It is an accepted tradition across the length and breadth of Nigeria, for people to own country/village homes. Given the size of the land and the location of the compound, the buildings thereon cannot by any stretch of the imagination be a “Multi-Billion Naira” palatial estate, as the news mongers would want to portray.”

 

 
Posted On Saturday, 11 February 2017 15:05 Written by

SPONSORED BY CHIQUEMAGAZINE.COM: New managers were yesterday appointed for Arik Air to save the airline from a debilitating financial turbulence.

The Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) took over the management of Nigeria’s biggest airline.

But the airline rejected the takeover and vowed to challenge it in court.

AMCON, according to a statement, appointed Captain Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu as the managing director and Mr Seyi Opasanya (SAN) as the receiver.

The takeover, according to AMCON, clearly underscores the government’s decision to instil sanity in the aviation sector and also to preserve Arik as a going concern.

Security was heavy at the airline’s head office.

The AMCON statement reads: “From all indications, respite may have come the way of Arik Airlines currently immersed in heavy financial debt burden that is threatening to permanently ground the airline.

“For some time now, the airline, which carries about 55 per cent  of the load in the country, has been going through difficult times that are attributable to its bad corporate governance, erratic operational challenges, inability to pay staff salaries and heavy debt burden, among other issues, which led to the call for authorities in the country to intervene before Arik goes under like many before it.

 “The move, which clearly underscores government’s decision to instill sanity in the nation’s aviation sector, has also prevented a major catastrophe that would, among other factors, protect and preserve Arik Airlines as a going concern.”

AMCON said the development would afford Arik, which is the largest local carrier to go back to regular and undisrupted operations, avoid job losses, protect investors and stakeholder funds as well as ensure safety and stability in the already challenged aviation sector.

The statement reads: “ The airline would now be managed by Capt. Roy Ukpebo Ilegbodu, a veretan aviation expert under the receivership of Mr. Oluseye Opasanya, SAN.”

Explaining the rationale for the intervention Minister of State for Aviation Hadi Siriki said: “We believe that this appointment is timely and will stabilize the operations of the airline.”

 

This, he said, will enhance the long term economic value of Arik Air and revitalise the airline’s ailing operations as well as sustain safety standards, in view of Arik Air’s pivotal role in the Nigerian aviation sector.”

The Minister, who said the Ministry of Aviation would support the management of the strategic carrier, added that all steps had been taken to ensure that there would be no undue disruption of Arik’s operations or activities of other stakeholders, on account of the changes.

Capt. Ilegbodu, under the receivership of Opasanya, SAN has also assured the staff of the troubled airline and all other stakeholders that his appointment would, among other objectives, enhance the value of Arik, improve customer experience, and sustain the safety, reliable and secure operational history of the airline.

“As a matter of fact, Arik Airline has been in a precarious situation largely attributable to its heavy financial debt burden, bad corporate governance, erratic operational challenges and other issues, that require immediate intervention in order to guarantee the continued survival of the Airline.”

Yesterday, Arik temporarily suspended its flight operations to the John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York, United States, claiming that the two Airbus A330-200 aircraft dedicated to the route had been taken to France for C checks.

More than eight aircraft are grounded, making it difficult for the airline to make routine commercial flights.

The statement reads :” The myriad of issues confronting Arik Air of late ranges from confiscation of aircraft due to non-payment of leases, frequent flight delays, constant fracas between Arik staff and irate passengers at both local and international airports etc.

“During the last Yuletide season, passengers were stranded in airports all over the country due to Arik’s incessant flight delays and cancellations, which negatively affected the preference they enjoy from passengers. You are all living examples of this.

“The airline is so overwhelmed to the extent that the workers’ wages are not paid for several months, leading to occasional confrontation between the management of Arik and different aviation unions in the country.

“It was Arik’s inability to pay its workers for seven months that forced the United Labour Congress (ULC) and Engineers Union to recently shut the offices of the airline across the country, causing untold hardship to thousands of travellers and an embarrassment to the aviation sector.

“Besides owing workers’ salaries, the airline has also not been remitting the taxes of workers to relevant bodies, thus also defrauding the country.

“The airline is also in perpetual default in its lease payments and insurance premium, leading to regular and embarrassing repossession of its aircraft by Lessors. Various class actions are pending against the airline all over the world.

“We assure all stakeholders that the intervention is in the best interest of the general public, workers, creditors and other aviation interest groups.”

Posted On Friday, 10 February 2017 02:23 Written by
Page 6 of 47

Newsletter